It took over 2 years, but 50,000 other Harry fans and I finally got the concert we were promised before COVID hit tours around the world. In fact, we are seeing Lorde next week in a concert that has been canceled 3 times and was originally set for 2021. The concert from top to bottom was amazing, but it got me thinking about why we all should support the opening act.
For Harry’s Australian portion of his Love on Tour 2023 he asked Wet Leg to open. This proved to be a prophetic choice as Wet Leg won a Grammy only weeks before the tour hit land in Melbourne. Opening for Harry Styles is not a small event. He had Koffee open in America…side note my daughter and I wished she came out to Australia with him because we love her…and most opening acts for Harry will open to their biggest audiences. For example, due to no parking available on the Gold Coast most of the audience took the train and arrived hours early. Moreover, all those general admission hardcores needed to line up hours in advance…some lined up 17 hours early for front row Harry…so the entire GA section was 90% full by the time they went on. This meant that Weg Leg was playing to roughly 30,000 people. That’s nothing to scoff at.
Most importantly, they crushed it. The audience was in the palms of their hands. Thrashing to all the punk riffs and waving their cell phone lights in the air to the one ballad they played mid set. My daughter looked at me and said “Who are they?” I said, “Wet Leg. They’re the best. Do you like it?” Wide eyed and ready for anything she yelled “YYEEAHHHHHH!!!!” Now, if she didn’t want to get there early to buy her limited Harry concert shirt, we would never have seen them. Her enjoyment of Wet Leg means that there is another concert option for the family when they come to town and more Wet Leg being played in the car, which I can always get behind.
The opening act’s role is very challenging. It is one of the few times a band plays a concert and no one there came to the concert to see them. You have to win the audience over. Some bands falter under the weight of that pressure and others use it to crush. Wet Leg was definitely the latter and won over thousands of new fans. Harry also did what I love from headliners, which is to thank the opening act as much as possible. He gave them three hearty shout outs during his show and directed people to their music.
Harry was as amazing as ever as he opened with Music For a Sushi Restaurant and closed his encore with Sign of the Times, which effortlessly flowed into As it Was. His energy and charisma is off the charts…plus, that is one hot man. Wow. Lots of fainting fans, humorous crowd banter, endless thanks to people for supporting him and general dreaminess. What I did appreciate is how he went into One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful right after his acoustic mini-set to amp up the crowd. He did this when I saw him close to 5 years ago when he toured his first solo record. I like how this is a total fan move and he is not embarrassed by his boy band past. Some musicians who come out of boy bands shun that part of their career in an attempt to appear like a mature artist. Harry embraces it and knows it is those fans who have made him what he is now. I like that.
That’s my quick review of the concert, but the real message is to support your opening act. You never know what gem you will discover. Then when they get huge you can fondly look back to when you and 500 people saw them open. I think opening acts have a very unique opportunity to win over an audience, which can translate into some great energy. So, be kind and support your local opening acts.
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